Monday, May 31, 2010

"Remnants" and "Painted Drawings"

So we did it!  Joan McGuire and I hung our respective shows at Gallery 114  -- mine, six small and restrained works on paper, and hers, a large body of wonderfully loose and colorful abstract paintings.  Then we smiled and gave each other a "high five."  And now, we're looking forward to the First Thursday opening.   If you're in the Portland area, stop by the gallery.  We'd love to see you!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

After the Rain...


This afternoon we had two terrific downpours that played havoc with the flowers.  Of course, I was supposed to be putting the finishing touches on the last collages for my upcoming show, but I knew the light was right for some nice photographs.  And besides, I've been running up a big deficit in outdoor time lately, and an even greater deficit where gardening is concerned.  Recently, all the credit in the gardening department truly belongs to my husband and it seems the only thing I'm really committed to is turning the compost--an activity that, for some reason, gives me great satisfaction!


Garlic (One can never have enough.)

Blueberries coming on.

Nine Bark

This weekend, I've been inspired by the textiles on the novembergrass blog and also on Avalanche Looms' blog and website. Both of these artists are currently featuring works with soft, loose flower petals and they are truly lovely. And in addition to her textile art pieces, Susan Johnson weaves gorgeous linen/cotton scarves.  I hope you'll have a moment to follow each of the links, and when you get to Avalanche Looms' website, make sure you "tour" Susan's Wisconsin store and workshop (she also has an etsy shop). Sure wish they were just down the street from me. They are incredibly appealing spaces!

Spanish Lavender

Horse tail.
The lovely Sangu Kaku Maple, with its red bark and stems.


Rose petals intermingled with Carex grass.

Have a wonderful Sunday!!  And thanks for visiting :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Art vs. Art vs. Art

Acrylic on canvas
30" x 48"

I've been doing a fair amount of pondering on the ideas of  "art as psychological or emotional therapy" vs. "art as social, philosophical or political statement" vs. "art as intellectual exercise" vs. "art strictly for commercial purposes" vs. "art strictly for aesthetics," etc. etc.   And how these assorted motivations affect the artist's process of creating the art and the viewer's experience of observing and/or living with the art.  And then interwoven with these ponderings, have been ongoing conversations--both within my head and with others--pertaining to "art" vs. "craft" vs "design".   These ponderings, of course, have been made all the more interesting by the myriad of artists' blogs that I have begun to follow over the past few months, and by the blog "conversations" that I have had along the way.

Most often, my motivation for art is very simply aesthetics, and the results frequently have a graphic bent (although I have no training to speak of in that discipline).  The paintings shown here are really the only pieces that I have produced that were the result of any sort of psychological or emotional motivation.  "Transcendence" above, was painted several months after my mother passed away.  It is full of symbolism pertaining to beaches and deserts, and smooth river rocks and weakening bones; and the process of painting it was very therapeutic for me.  Likewise, "Catherine vs. Katrina"  below, is infused with symbolism; and it literally helped me to come to the decision to allow my daughter to return to New Orleans with the incoming Tulane freshmen, five months after they had evacuated ahead of Hurricane Katrina.

"Catherine vs. Katrina"
Acrylic on canvas
18" x 24"

I should note that I did not begin either of these paintings with any idea whatsoever as to what I was going to paint, and certainly without any intent of "working through issues".   I simply started painting.  But in each case, I was soon painting with a purpose.  

The other night, while catching up on my blog reading, I visited Heather's Studio, where Heather Kirtland had  posted some of her wonderful, abstract BFA paintings as well as some recent work.  And there, I encountered a painting--apparently still in progress, and accompanied by a single explanatory sentence -- that immediately brought tears to my eyes.  It was the posture of the small figure, created with a few deft brushstrokes, that struck the chord.  And so, my ponderings continue....

....and I'd be very interested to know your thoughts on the subject.

[I apologize for the quality of the images.  The horizontal and vertical lines in Transcendence truly are just that.  Also, in the process of attempting to lighten both images in PhotoShop, they became fuzzy and the collaged details of the second painting were totally lost. And...the field of that painting has undertones of yellow ochre rather than grey as appears here. :) ]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New work by Catherine Freshley

Mixed media on canvas
6" x 8"
Image courtesy of Catherine Freshley

I mentioned several weeks ago that I might post examples of my daughter's recent experiments with a mixed media process that includes collage, oil pastels, acrylics, gel medium and/or resin.  Shown here are a couple of her new works. The piece above, in which an interesting magazine image is peeking out from the lower left corner,  is currently at Gallery 713, in the French Quarter of New Orleans; and the piece below is currently in her etsy shop.

Mixed media on wood block
5 1/2" x 5 1'2"
Image courtesy of Catherine Freshley

Hope there's lots of creative activity going on in your neck of the woods!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Hoping you have a wonderful day with loved ones.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lessons in Editing and Salmon

Speaking of editing, these bowls were culled from a student ceramics sale at my daughters' high school several years ago. Aren't they lovely? Once I plucked them from the sea of other bowls with various colored glazes, they became a collection--a "statement" if you will--and I feel very fortunate to have them now. 

Computer altered image

And the above was also an exercise in editing: I scanned one of my acrylic paintings and zoomed in on a small square of it.  Then I altered the colors and put the square into a pattern. 

But what I really want to share with you, is that I volunteered at a fundraising dinner for the Wild Salmon Center, a Portland-based non-profit, on Tuesday.  The event was the kick-off of an international scientific symposium on the salmon who call the Pacific Rim their home.  Salmon are a "keystone" species of the Rim, which includes the coastal regions of Japan, Russia, Canada and the U.S.Pacific Northwest.  This means (loosely) that they are essential to the well-being of at least 100 other species of both flora and fauna in the region.  Organized by the WSC and Ecotrust , the symposium is bringing scientists together to discuss ways to preserve and enhance the critical habitat of these amazing fish who hatch in fresh water streams before migrating to the great Pacific Ocean; and who then return to the very river, and finally, the very stream where they originally hatched, only to spawn and die, leaving their ocean-rich protein and nutrients for the multitude of dependent species to draw upon.

Well....the keynote speaker of the evening was retired NBC Nightly News anchor, Tom Brokaw, who, of course, is one of the world's most trusted and respected news correspondents, and who possesses a deep, lifelong reverence for the natural environment.  Mr. Brokaw, not surpisingly, is a storyteller extraordinaire, and what a compelling story he told; weaving anecdotes and facts, and sharing moving tales of his extensive time in the wilderness.  People immediately rose to a standing ovation at the conclusion of his talk, and many claimed the evening was one of the most memorable of their lives.  Truly, he spoke with such simplicity, sincerity and eloquence.  My hope is that many people, beyond the several hundred at the event, will have the opportunity to hear his call to awareness and action.  Afterall, every region of the world has keystone species which are critical to the well-being of all of us!

(Hopefully, the Wild Salmon Center will post the video of Mr. Brokaw's talk to their website, at which point I will provide a link.)

Happy weekend everyone!  (Oh, and links to the non-profits are there, but for some reason, I can't get the blue highlighted text to appear.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Work - Mixed Media

7" x 9"
Gold gouache and ink on paper

Finished pieces are begining to jockey for a place in my June show at Gallery 114. This series, "Remnants", is an exercise in editing.  :)